Prunes belong to dried fruits and they are prepared by natural drying of black ripe plums.
Inting that the production of prunes on an industrial scale is excellently established in the United States (dried fruits produced in California are especially appreciated in the world) and Argentina and France. Currently, plum is beginning to be actively cultivated in Asia, Moldova, the North Caucasus, and, of course, in post-USSR countries, where they historically considered tasty, nutritious, and healthy fruits.
And although this tree is found everywhere, the best variety for drying plums has long been the Italian and Hungarian variety. From this variety, an excellent prune is obtained, which does not require any additional enzymes for drying.
Prunes are a famous dried fruit from the dried fruit of the plum. They have a dark blue or black color with an oily sheen.
Botany: the fruit of diversity
The word “plum” is a collective term for the different varieties of stone fruits that differ in size, shape, color, taste, cellulose solubility, and juiciness. Botanically, these plum subspecies are called home plum, prune, Mirabelle, Japanese plum, cherry plum, etc. The most widespread varieties are home plums and prunes in our latitudes.
Yellow or greenish plums are round or oval in shape with a distinct seam all over the fruit and a tough pit. The pulp is juicy and aromatic. The shape of the blue-violet prune is elliptical and flat; the seam is less distinct, it also tastes sweet and juicy.
The history of prunes
The history of prunes began in the 6th century BC when the Egyptians noticed that some fruits do not deteriorate in the sun but dry out. And at the same time, they retain their taste and valuable qualities. The plum was one of the first fruits to be dried.
In ancient times, prunes were considered a well-known remedy for stress and depression. It was added to many meat and vegetable dishes.
It is assumed that the common plum culture arose from the crossing of blackthorn and cherry plum. Its origin probably belongs to the regions between the Caucasus and Altai. Like many other fruits, the appearance of plums here is associated with the Romans: they planted stone fruits as far back as 100 BC, north of the Alps.
Then the prunes came, presumably, with the crusaders through Syria to Greece. The finds prove that people grew plums in those places 2500 years ago.
Composition and calorie content of prunes
Prunes, like many dried fruits, contain enough water. They are also rich in minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and zinc. They also include provitamin A, vitamins C, E, and group B.
Although prunes do not dominate the number of vitamins, their benefits lie in a wide range of useful ingredients. The water-soluble vegetable substances pectin and cellulose provide the digestive properties of stone fruits. Prunes are also high in fructose, making them a fast energy supplier.
- Proteins 2.30 g
- Fat 0.70 g
- Carbohydrates 57.50 g
- Caloric content 231.00 kcal
The benefits of prunes
In prunes, many useful trace elements have a beneficial effect on the body.
Prunes are rich in a whole group of vitamins – A, B, E, and C, strengthening the immune system. They normalize the work of the stomach and cardiovascular system. For example, carotenoids are responsible for vision. Minerals – potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium, phosphorus are good for bones, teeth, hair, and skin. Prunes contain glucose, sucrose, and fructose, responsible for energy, activity, and tone.
Dried fruit is famous for its antioxidant properties. If you regularly eat prunes, then changes in appearance are noticeable. I use prunes as a laxative; it helps with constipation. It has a diuretic effect. Removes excess fluid from the body.
Prunes are also very useful for children. If the child is very young (up to 3 years old), you can prepare a special decoction on dried fruit.
The harm of prunes
Mostly prunes are a healthy fruit. But in some cases you need to treat it with caution. For example, obese people shouldn’t overuse prunes, as they are high in calories.
Due to a large amount of sugar, dried fruit can have unpleasant consequences for people with diabetes.
Breastfeeding mothers need to limit their intake of prunes if their baby has stomach problems—for example, loose stools.
Application in medicine
In medicine, dried fruit is popular as a preventive food product. For example, in the case of stomach diseases, it is better to eat at least 5 berries a day. Those who suffer from constipation will need more.
Prunes are good as an antimicrobial agent. It fights oral microbes – reduces their number, and stops their growth.
Dried fruit is also useful for atherosclerosis, hypertension, and thrombophlebitis. Prunes strengthen the walls of blood vessels and capillaries, normalizes blood pressure.
In pregnant women, prunes increase the level of iron. Therefore, it is good in case of anemia and vitamin deficiency.
Drinks (compotes, decoctions, jelly), desserts are prepared from prunes. You can add them as a seasoning to hot dishes. Dried fruit is good in combination with beef and chicken, mushrooms. Gives them a rich, delicate, and sweet taste.
Storing prunes and plums
Buy only firm, fresh fruit. Soft, overripe plums are often wormy. Store them in a cool and dark place; then they will lie for three to four days. Fresh plums are covered with a whitish coating that protects them from drying out.
Thus, you should wash them immediately before use in order not to damage the protective layer. At room temperature on the windowsill, green plums ripen in two to three days if wrapped in a damp towel to retain moisture.
To store prunes at home, you should follow simple rules:
store prunes at room temperature or use refrigerator for storage:
- zip packages,
- linen bags and paper bags,
- airtight containers or tight-fitting glass,
- metal and plastic containers
- in glass or ceramic dishes, you can safely store prunes for up to 6 months – the storage area must be dry and dark
- before storing in glass or ceramics, you must douse the dish with boiling water and dry it well
Beef with prunes
Ideal for family and festive dinners. A hearty and nutritious dish with a piquant taste is best to cook in the autumn-winter period when the body does not have enough energy and a person rebuilds for the cold season.
- Beef – 1.4 kilograms
- Onions – 3 pieces
- Carrots – 2 pieces
- Celery – 3 pieces
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Honey – 2 tablespoons
- Meat broth – 1, 5 cups
- Prunes – 200 grams
Cut carrots, celery, onions, and meat into small pieces, fry the beef in olive oil, transfer to a separate bowl, add honey and broth there – simmer for 40 minutes. After that, fry all the vegetables separately and add them to the meat. Sprinkle with prunes. Let the roast stew for another 15 minutes.
How to choose and store
Go to the market for quality prunes. First, you can taste the berry. Second, consider it from all angles.
When choosing, pay attention to the taste of dried fruit. It should be sweetish, with a slight sourness, without bitterness. The good color is black. If there is a brown tint, then this is a spoiled product. Prunes with pits are more useful than those without them.
Storage conditions at home. Keep the prunes in a glass. Before packing, sterilize the dishes and dry the dried fruits themselves in the oven. Close container tightly. You can store it for up to 1 year, in a dark and cool place.
In a cloth bag, the shelf life goes down to six months. In a polyethylene bag – up to a month.